5 Reasons Podcasters Quit and How to Avoid Them

5 reasons why podcasters stop podcasting

Podcasting is a great way to share your knowledge and expertise with the world. Unfortunately, it can be hard work and there are many reasons why podcasters stop podcasting.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss five of the most common reasons that podcasters quit podcasting as well as some challenges they faced when starting their podcasts from scratch, and ways to avoid those challenges. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast but don’t think you have what it takes, read on! You might just find the inspiration you need right here in these stories.

Lack of time

Podcasting takes a lot of time and effort, and it’s possible that you may not have enough time to commit to your podcast. If this is the case, you might find yourself stopping altogether.

Podcasting isn’t for everyone. Some podcasters quit because they found they simply don’t have the time to create a new episode every week or to engage with their audience.

That’s right, podcasters are people too! Many people have the misconception that you just have to go into a sound booth and talk into a microphone. They think it’s just like writing a blog post – but it isn’t. You’ll need to be able to speak without pausing too much, work on your vocal variety, know when to use humor, deal with feedback from listeners, not bore your audience…the list goes on. You may even find yourself taking on production roles like scheduling guests, researching topics, or editing shows.

I mentioned earlier that podcasting can take up a lot of time – I wanted to elaborate more about this factor. Podcasts require hours of work each week in order to be successful. This is one of the biggest reasons why podcasters quit podcasting – not because they didn’t like producing the content but because considering how much time and hard work was required, it is just hard to justify the effort for the time that was being put into it.

Get more time by changing your format

If you are thinking about starting a podcast or currently running a podcast and are concerned about how much time it will take – think carefully about how much time you are willing to commit. If it is too much, consider ways of reducing the time requirements by changing your format.

For example, if you are currently recording a weekly show with guests on Zoom, try switching to a solo show every other week. This involves only one person and gives the added benefit of showing your listeners how much you actually know about the topic.

Get more time by being more organized

Many podcasters found that it would be helpful to have some kind of system in place where they could manage all the smaller tasks involved in podcasting. One example might be using a task management software like Trello or Asana to keep track of episode topics, show notes, deadlines for publishing episodes, etc., so everything is in one place and you know exactly what needs to be done.

This will help reduce your workload and make it easier for you to see how much work is required of you. That way, if the time commitment is too high, you won’t feel like quitting or lying to yourself about not having enough time – it’ll be right there in front of you.

Lack of a clear vision

Many podcasters start podcasting without having a clear understanding of what they want to actually accomplish in their podcasts.

I remember one time sitting at a stoplight before a freeway entrance and saw a man holding a cardboard sign asking for a ride. The destination was “Anywhere but here.” This man definitely had a goal in mind, but his destination was unsure. We can face the same problem of having goals that ultimately take us nowhere.

Don’t be content with simply recording episodes and expecting your listeners to come back for more. Download numbers are usually a poor metric for your goals and vision.

Instead, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish with your podcast and what kind of impact you want it to have on others.

For example, if you want people who hear your podcast to be able to learn something new related to the topic, hold them accountable to actually learning something new. If you want people to be inspired, inspire them with your words. Don’t just record an episode because you want to have it there for your listeners – have a purpose behind every episode so when you are recording it, you don’t think “Is this really what I want to say?” but instead think “Why am I saying this?”

You’ll find that your vision will keep you committed to producing an episode no matter how much work it takes.

There is a Japanese Proverb that I was told as a child that has stuck with me. A Vision without Action is a Daydream and Action without Vision is a nightmare.

Make sure that you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish with your podcast, and then take action towards it.

When I was a kid my dad created an acronym for the word VISION that he would ask us to remember when we needed direction:

V – Visualize what you want

Know what you want from your podcast, know what you want the end goal to look like

I – Identify your Priorities

With that end goal in mind make a list of what your main priorities should be

S – Set your Steps

When you know your end and your priorities then you can break down the large goal into smaller steps to take to achieve that end.

I – Instill confidence through tracking metrics

Decide what metrics you need to track to hit your steps and priorities and then you can see if you are hitting your goals and when you hit your goals there is confidence that comes.

O – Oversee your Direction

Do not take your eye off of the end result. When you start to have some small successes it is easy to have small setbacks because you aren’t paying attention to your overall direction. You must keep your eyes on the end goal to achieve it.

N – Notice your successes

No matter what the result of acting toward your vision is notice the successes that you face along the way. You need to celebrate the wins or you will be less likely to continue down that path.

By keeping these things in mind and asking yourself if your podcast is providing you with the same vision, it will be easier to tell whether or not you are really committed to continuing.

Not enough topics for a new podcast episode

Many podcasters jump into the world of podcasting because they want to share their ideas and opinions on a topic. But how many times can you say the same thing about the same topic before it gets old?

It is very important that you are able to take the core message that you want to deliver and break it down into different topics. For example, if your core message is about how to start a successful business, you will want to talk about specific tactics for each step of the process. These can include things like how to come up with an idea, how often to meet clients, what kind of language to use in your marketing materials, etc., so that no matter who your listeners are, they will be able to take something away from each podcast episode.

When meeting with a new podcaster for the first time I ask them to make a list of at least 8 episode topics related to what they want to talk about. If it is too hard for them to find 8 new topics, then this is a good indicator that they probably need more practice researching and thinking about the topic before jumping into production. The exercise that I give them to help with this is to break each of those 8 topics into 5 different subtopics, to give them 40 different topics.

I believe this is completely doable for most podcasters and will help them in the long run because they won’t ever get stuck with not having enough things to say about a certain topic.

For Example, if you were starting a podcast on Building with Lego one of your topics might be “How to Sort Your Lego” this can be a great episode and I might even recommend this as one of your first topics, you might cover topics like,

  • Sort the Lego by Color
  • Sort the Lego by Shape
  • Sort the Lego by Size
  • Using Machines to sort Lego
  • Choosing the Right Lego Container

But each of those topics can be their own episode, so you would have 5 episodes with different subtopics.

The primary complaint that I’ve gotten from podcasters with who I have used this method is, “Whoa, I can’t spend 30 minutes talking about how to sort Lego by Color!”

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your audience knows the things that you know. My friend and fellow podcaster Kim White uses this saying all the time, “Your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary!” This means that just because you know something doesn’t mean that your audience does, so rather than assume that they know, always take the time to explain everything.

It is after all why they are listening to you. Tell them how many base colors Lego has. I don’t know what that is because I’m not a Lego master, but I’m sure it exists. Tell them WHY you would sort them by color at all, share a story about needing a specific color. There are lots of ways to go about telling a story, but making it as relevant as you can to what they are interested in will always help.

Lack of Feedback from Audience

Podcasting is one of the most introverted extroverted things that you will ever do. Your goal is to get on the headphones or speakers of as many people as you can but while you are recording you are sitting in front of a microphone talking to yourself.

It takes some time to get used to it. One of the hardest things that you will ever have to do is continue to make content when it feels like people aren’t responding.

Do not start podcasting thinking that people will automatically send you feedback or engage in dialog with you. Most people will listen, many will agree, some will disagree and some will respond to you vocally. We’ve all yelled at a podcast that we’ve disagreed with before, its okay you can admit it.

In order to get feedback from your audience you have to do a couple of things:

Make sure they know you value their feedback

When you get feedback from your audience you need to treat it like it is gold, which in an attention economy like podcasting, it is. People only have so much time to give to listening to podcasts, if you make them feel like their feedback is important it will help retain them as listeners.

When your listeners see how much value you are placing in their thoughts and their feelings they will be more willing to trust you with their time and more importantly their inner thoughts and feelings.

Even though it seems like everyone has a podcast nowadays, most people are not wired like podcasters. Most of us have no problem sharing our thoughts and feelings, but “regular” people will be nervous about the idea of opening up to a complete stranger, so you need to give them some encouragement.

Ask for their feedback

People will feel more comfortable engaging with you if you provide them with the right kind of prompts. One of the ways that I do this is by asking my listeners to email me their feedback, questions, or suggestions for topics that they would like me to cover. It gives people a specific window and lets them know that their feedback is important.

By laying out things like, Where to leave feedback, how to leave feedback and why they should leave feedback you remove some of the inhibitions that they have about engaging with you. They are not worried that you won’t appreciate their feedback, so they are more likely to share it with you.

Give THEM feedback

The people who are willing to take the time out of their day to provide feedback for your show are few and far between. When they do, it’s important not to waste it! It is important for nearly every podcast out there to not only read “good” comments on the air but also to respond to every comment that is made.

When you respond to every comment that is made you are showing that you are not just listening but that you are also engaged.

Respond to the email you get with an email, and if it has parts that you would like to talk about on your show then bring those parts up too. Responding to your listeners changes them from listeners to friends and community. People will listen to a friend’s podcast much longer than they would listen to a show that is recorded by a stranger.

No money coming in from advertising and sponsorships

Its easy to listen to big podcasts with a ton of ads and think that making a podcast is an easy way to make money from advertising and sponsorships, but when that doesn’t happen you could be in a tough spot.

If you thought that you were going to be making money from your podcast, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen any time soon it can be extremely deflating and make you want to quit, but there is a silver lining.

It is not necessary to have sponsorships and advertisements in order for you to make money from your podcast. Actually that is one of the worst ways that you can monetize your podcast.

There are three ways that podcasts can be used to generate income that don’t rely on sponsorships and advertising. The first is through having a product of your own. That product might be a course, a book, an app, or even a service. The second way is to have affiliate links and offers in the show notes of your podcast. An affiliate is when you are partnered with a company that will pay you a referral fee for each person who signs up for their service.

The third method for making money from your podcast is one that I have coined the opportunity generator. I have used my podcast about pop culture news and comic books to generate more than $50k in the years that I’ve been running it through the opportunities that it has generated for me.

The opportunities have come in the forms of:

  • Relationships with potential clients
  • Relationships with potential business partners
  • Added Experience and confidence with public speaking
  • Keeping informed on industry tools and trends

I have hosted dozens of live events in the podcasting space where I was able to share the knowledge that I have gained in podcasting.

I have met people who have needed IT services (which is a service that I offer but do not talk about on my podcast) through the podcast that has led me to business that I have never thought about.

From relationships with potential clients, partners, people who want to help promote my shows, and finally to new ideas on how to run it more effectively.

The opportunities that are generated from a podcast can be really great and there is also one other thing that you will gain: experience. When you are running your podcast, you will learn how to effectively do so. You will learn the best ways to record, edit and work with audio, as well as all of the other things that go along with it.

Of all of the methods that you can use to monetize your podcast, I would recommend creating a product, finding a good affiliate that you can partner with and then keeping your eyes open to the opportunities that your podcast generates. When you combine these three methods you will be able to make more money with a smaller audience and it won’t matter that you can’t get ads or sponsorship money because you won’t need it.

Don’t Quit!

Whether you are about to start a podcast or you are thinking about quitting hopefully these five reasons why podcasters quit podcasting have made you think. Podcasting is a great thing, but it has its challenges and if you are not prepared to face them you will not be able to make it through the rough spots that come from starting a podcast from scratch! You can do this and you should keep at it as long as you can.

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